This rich array of historical, cultural, biological and scenic resources in Tesla Park can serve a range of preservation, recreation and education purposes. Consistent with natural resource protection, low-impact non-OHV recreation, such as interpretive history and nature trails, wildlife viewing, bird watching and horseback riding could be established along with dedicated preservation areas with restricted access to protect sensitive resources. Grazing can continue to be a management tool, retaining important agricultural land. Tesla Park can provide outdoor environmental and historical education for area K-12 schools and serve as a field research location for colleges and universities. Protection of Tesla Park matches the charter of East Bay Regional Park District and supports the objective to establish park and hiking access around the Tri-Valley metropolitan area. EBRPD has recognized the importance of Tesla Park by identifying Tesla as a potential regional preserve in its Master Plan. Tesla Park directly meets State Parks and Natural Resource Agency objectives. Tesla Park as a non-OHV park can serve the State Parks Department priority for low impact recreation as documented in the 2008 Outdoor Recreation Report, including the objective to provide additional nature parks to serve the Central Valley. Tesla Park matches the State Natural Resource Agency purpose to conserve treasured lands and valuable natural resources, including Blue Oak woodlands.
Because of the unique range of historical, cultural, scenic, habitat and biological resources contained in Tesla Park, and the destructive impacts of Off -Highway Vehicle (OHV) use, including at the adjacent Carnegie SVRA, Friends of Tesla Park is working to develop Tesla Park separate from Carnegie SVRA with no off-highway motor vehicle use. Some of the features that Tesla Park could potentially include that can be designed to protect and preserve the existing wild landscape are:
- Hiking trails and interpretive development to historical sites, wildlife/plant viewing and scenic routes
- Dedicated preserves for rare and threatened wildlife and plants and sensitive historic/cultural resources
- Managed grazing and equestrian trails
- Hiking and bike trails links between Livermore Valley and San Joaquin Valley along Tesla/Corral Hollow Road
- Links to other Tri-Valley parks and trail systems
There are viable options to protect Tesla Park from OHV use, such as:
- Operation of Tesla Park by the OHMVR Division as mitigation for Carnegie SVRA as a natural and cultural sensitive area preserve with only non-motorized recreation as allowed by OHMVR program statute
- Transfer to an appropriate State Parks unit with compatible preservation and management objectives and expertise that will protect Tesla’s varied and abundant resources
- Joint management with East Bay Regional Park District as has been implemented at Del Valle Regional Park and portions of Mount Diablo State Park
- Transfer to Easy Bay Regional Park District
- Cooperative planning with Alameda and San Joaquin counties to establish a recreation and preservation corridor along Corral Hollow/Tesla Road
- Public-private partnerships to provide reimbursement and development funds
Any of these opportunities requires a broad resource management view of the Tesla park land and the region. In spite of regulatory requirements to protect natural and cultural resources, the OHMVR Division sees its purpose to expand OHV use like that in Carnegie SVRA and other SVRAs. Such OHV use is incompatible with the resource preservation values required to protect Tesla Park. OHMVR’s continued press to expand Carnegie SVRA has blocked realistic efforts to implement appropriate non-OHV use alternatives for Tesla. We are not working against Carnegie SVRA, but we are working to protect Tesla Park. That is why it is time to pursue more viable and appropriate, and likely more cost-effective, alternative uses for the Tesla Park land.
Development of the park land under any alternative operational and management scenario will take time. But the Tesla Park land is already public land owned by the State of California Parks and Recreation Department. Once Tesla is designated for permanent protection, we can begin the process to establish the appropriate use and management plan that ensures this unique and special native landscape is protected for all today and in the future.
See the EBRPD 2013 Master Plan map below:
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